Taiwan lawmakers call for punishment of quarantine evaders and accomplices

Assisting those shirking quarantine is detrimental to public health and requires legal retribution: lawmakers

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Arriving visitors at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport

Arriving visitors at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Individuals who help others break quarantine rules amid the coronavirus pandemic should be held accountable, Taiwanese lawmakers urged Monday (April 6).

Legislator Claire Wang (王婉諭) and Taipei Councilor Lin Ying-meng (林穎孟) of the New Power Party called for the introduction of penalties for accomplices who assist in the escape or hideout of those under quarantine, wrote CNA. These demands are in response to a series of incidents in which people required to be in isolation have been found breaching regulations, therefore posing a risk to public health.

According to Wang, the number of individuals subject to quarantine in Taiwan peaked on March 28, totalling 55,000. The increasingly high count has put a strain on community disease control and caused a hassle for the police's tracking system.

Taipei, which has around 7,000 under quarantine, has seen borough chiefs struggling to successfully monitor those subject to temporary confinement. In addition to making telephone calls on a daily basis and checking on quarantined residents from time to time, they are also commissioned to help those living in solitude buy food and dispose of garbage, among other chores.

In some extreme cases, borough chiefs in Taipei are responsible for caring more than 50 persons, creating an extra burden for these public servants while increasing their infection risks, said Lin. The lawmakers believe the situation merits the enactment of a regulation that addresses this issue and rightfully punishes those purposely helping individuals dodge quarantine rules, wrote CNA.

A number of quarantine evaders have been slapped a hefty fine of NT$1 million (US$33,081) for violating a special ordinance taking effect on Feb. 25. Reasons spanned buying food, patronizing nightclubs, and recklessly traveling to other cities.